FARM WORKERS' UNION POINTS FINGER AT WHOLE FOODS: “FLOC members faced abusive working conditions, wage theft, threats, and violations of basic health and safety protocols in the tobacco and sweet potato fields of North Carolina, including on farms that supply Whole Foods,” the union said in a press release Thursday. Now it is demanding a meeting with “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Whole Foods, a Texas-based supermarket chain, prides itself on being “the world’s leader in natural and organic foods” and is committed to sustainable agriculture. But in 2019, FLOC said, the grocery store “made a set of commitments it has yet to fully follow through on.” “As the 2020 planting season approaches in the U.S. South, farmworkers, NGO’s and labor unions representing workers in the Whole Foods distribution chain have come together to seek real engagement with Whole Foods,” the release states.
3 NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS WILL ATTEND GUN RALLY IN RICHMOND: Republican state lawmakers are showing their support for areas that declare themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” and some plan to attend a gun rights rally Monday in Virginia that the state’s governor fears might turn violent. Fifty members of the Republican House caucus, including Speaker Tim Moore and Majority Leader John Bell, signed a letter from Rep. Keith Kidwell’s office that supports those who want “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” especially in Virginia. Kidwell, of Chocowinity, said that he, along with Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern and Rep. Bobby Hanig of Currituck County, will deliver the letter to the Virginia legislature Monday. That day, gun rights groups and their supporters are holding the rally at the Virginia Capitol. On Thursday, the FBI arrested three men who discussed the Virginia gun rally and are suspected of being part of a white supremacist group, ABC reported. Monday is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS GUN BAN AT MONDAY RALLY: Virginia's highest court on Friday upheld a ban on firearms at an upcoming pro-gun rally in the state's capital, an event that authorities feared could erupt in violence at the hands of armed extremists. The Virginia Supreme Court's decision came a day after gun-rights groups sued to overturn the ban that Gov. Ralph Northam issued earlier this week, citing what he called credible threats of “armed militia groups storming our Capitol.” The lawsuit and court rulings came as the FBI arrested six men whom authorities linked to a white supremacist group known as The Base. At least three of them were planning to attend the pro-gun rally Monday on the grounds of the state Capitol in Richmond, according to an official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation. Northam praised the ruling, saying in a written statement that keeping the ban in place would "help to ensure the safety of all Virginians” during the rally on Monday, which is also a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
REP. DEVIN NUNES WAS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN UKRAINE FIASCO: The text messages between Lev Parnas, who functioned as Rudolph W. Giuliani’s emissary to Ukrainian officials, and Derek Harvey, an aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, indicate Nunes’s office was aware of the operation at the heart of impeachment proceedings against the president — and sought to use the information Parnas was gathering. The newly released texts show that Parnas was working last spring to set up calls for Harvey with the Ukrainian prosecutors who were feeding Giuliani information about Biden. “Derek Harvey had several interviews, Skype interviews I set up, with different prosecutors like [Nazar] Kholodnytsky, which is the anti-corruption prosecutor of Ukraine [and] Konstantyn Kulyk, one of the major guys that’s had this whole Biden stuff,” Parnas said. Parnas suggested to MSNBC he was told to communicate with Harvey instead of Nunes directly because “Devin Nunes had an ethics, something to do with an ethics committee, and he couldn’t be in a spotlight.”
KEN STARR IS JOINING TRUMP'S IMPEACHMENT DEFENSE TEAM: The last time a president was on trial, few were more responsible for putting him in the dock than Ken Starr. Now the former independent counsel whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment two decades ago will come to the defense of another president charged with high crimes and misdemeanors. In adding Mr. Starr to his legal team, President Trump enlisted one of the best known and most polarizing lawyers in the country, someone who in recent months has become a regular defender of the president on Fox News. Mr. Starr will argue that while Mr. Clinton’s impeachment was legitimate, Mr. Trump’s was out of bounds. Even some of those who once worked for Mr. Starr wondered on Friday whether his selection would distract from Mr. Trump’s case by essentially relitigating Mr. Clinton’s. In his report to Congress, for instance, Mr. Starr argued that Mr. Clinton had committed an impeachable offense by unlawfully invoking executive privilege to try to block witness testimony and documents. One of the articles of impeachment passed by the House last month charged Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress by blocking testimony and refusing to turn over documents.